The New South Wales (NSW) government has extended its CCP virus lockdown measures until July 16, dashing the hopes of the five million people currently enduring stay-at-home orders in Greater Sydney and its surrounds during the school holiday period.
The lockdown extension comes as the state recorded 27 new local COVID-19 cases for the 24 hours to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, with only 13 in isolation for the entirety of their infectious period. The state has continued to record more than a dozen new cases for several days.
The extended lockdown covers Greater Sydney, Wollongong, Shellharbour, Blue Mountains, and the Central Coast.
“The reason why the NSW government has taken this position is because we don’t want to be in a situation where we are constantly having to move between lockdown, no lockdown, lockdown, no lockdown,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters on Wednesday.
With the school term due to begin next week, students will mostly be learning from home. But the children of essential workers will be able to attend in person, and regional students will be able to go back to school. Face to face learning will resume on Monday, July 19, for Greater Sydney and surrounding areas.
Berejiklian also warned that the state government could impose further measures on the three local government areas of Fairfield, Liverpool, and Canterbury Bankstown after new cases emerged overnight in households not complying with health orders.
“The NSW government doesn’t want to consider the next stage, but the NSW government is considering going to the next stage in those (three local government) areas,” she said.
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said some NSW residents are eligible for the Commonwealth COVID-19 disaster payment, but the government isn’t considering any other financial support at this stage.
Workers can get payments of $325 or $500, depending on the number of hours of weekly work they have lost because of the lockdown.
NSW Police Minister David Elliott acknowledged many people are furious at the thought of the lockdown continuing, but he hopes it will be the last.
“(Berejiklian) made it very clear that this tough love at the moment will hopefully be the last lockdown, … I think that’s probably going to be small comfort, but it will be a comfort,” he told 2GB radio on Wednesday.
He was also scathing about residents who ignored lockdown rules, saying police had issued 75 fines and 99 cautions on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, a fourth worker at SummitCare, an aged care facility in Baulkham Hills, has tested positive for COVID-19, taking the outbreak at the facility to 10 people, including six residents.
However, the worker has been in isolation since last Thursday, after 130 staff members were told to isolate. There is currently a surge workforce in place at the facility.
On Wednesday, a SummitCare spokesman said that COVID-19 vaccinations were given to 24 residents on Tuesday, taking the facility’s vaccination rate to 99 percent.
The six COVID-positive residents—five of whom are fully vaccinated—are in Westmead Hospital as a precaution and are asymptomatic.
On Tuesday evening, NSW Health also said COVID-19 transmission has occurred at Commonwealth Bank at Roselands in Sydney’s southwest.
Anyone who visited the branch at various times between June 28 and June 30 must get tested and isolate for 14 days, regardless of the result.
More than a dozen other health alerts were issued on Tuesday night for venues mostly in Sydney’s west, as well as public transport routes.
Harris Farm at Bondi Beach, St George bank at Riverwood, McDonald’s and Woolworths at Bonnyrigg and Big W at Menai are among the venues, with details and advice available on the NSW Health website.
AAP contributed to this report.